I never thought much about the interior work that was being done in each of the disciples throughout the time they walked with Jesus. However, I have recently noticed my attention to be on their individual work and growth and how Jesus met them where they were. As we read through the Gospels, you can see a tremendous change that takes place in their hearts as well as others around them. Through their stories, we are blessed with a peek at the transformations that took place, and by the time the Holy Spirit arrived on the scene in the upper room, they were completely different than they were when they were fishing or caught on the road to Damascus or wherever they were first found.
These little snippets of transformation that were shared with us have been influencing our lives ever since. They walked with Jesus and had first-hand knowledge and support in realizing their brokenness and receiving healing, love and interior freedom. Jesus used stories as well as modeling to show them how to love themselves, how to receive being loved and how to love the broken, lost, and imprisoned. He addressed their inmost broken places as well as their pride and prejudices.
There are many various scriptures throughout the gospels describing how Jesus walked with the disciples and taught them. Especially touching to me are the times he would take those closest to him into deeper places of learning. Sometimes, we are shown how worldly the disciples were in their thinking and beliefs and there were times when Jesus became frustrated with their lack of learning. There were times when they were completely humbled before their Lord as in John 13 when he washed the disciples’ feet. They were indignant that He would wash their feet and yet, Jesus was teaching something very different.
Take a moment to sit and consider what that would be like, what would it look like to have Jesus come and kneel before you and look deeply into your eyes. What would you be feeling as he began to remove your shoes? Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, kneeling down in front of you wanting to wash your feet? Would His touch cause embarrassment? Pride? Excitement? One thing I am certain, He touched something deep within each one of them. We know it touched Peter deeply and how the Lord addressed his response:
“He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,“ said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet by my hands and my head as well”” John 13:6-9NIV
Another example of the depth of the work that was taking place on that night was when Jesus told them all that one of them sitting at the table would soon betray him. Was their response to look around at the others? Trying to guess which one it was? We don’t know for certain. I have heard this preached many times and the way it usually is presented is how they were all indignant with the thought of Jesus thinking THEY would betray him…like they were so prideful about it…’Surely it is not I!’ However, I suggest to you another thought on their response.
Consider the depth of the work that had been done between these men and their Lord over the previous 3 years together. They walked and talked and witnessed incredible things over that time. They didn’t do all this interior work through the spirit, they did it directly with the Almighty Jesus. They did this work in His presence. He was their Spiritual Director, in the flesh. They were deeply moved and deeply changed. My thought as I sat and pondered this was perhaps they were truly looking inward, considering if it could be them:
“When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me-one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”” Mark 14:17-19 NIV
I am finding this depth of interior exploration by sitting with Jesus and allowing Him space to remove the layers of brokenness. This has happened for me in Spiritual Direction, with the Lord and my Spiritual Director, through the Spirit. Oh how glorious it would have been…and will be…to have Direction with my Lord Jesus Christ in the Flesh!